I am a scooter rider, … a Vespa rider. I have been riding for …well let’s just say a long time. I have learnt though experience, mainly from seeing the benefits thank goodness, of wearing protective clothing when riding. It is something that I am very big on but it is something that I could also do better. (I am very good with jacket and gloves but need to get some Draggin Jeans and better boots). However up until recently while it might seem like common sense (and get 2 riders together and you will be guaranteed to hear enough anecdotal evidence) .. there has not been any research to demonstrate what the benefits of wearing motorcycle gear are in the event of a crash.
The George Institute for Global Health at The University of Sydney launched on Mondays the results of it’s year long study on the injury reduction benefits of motorcycle clothing in crashes. One of the key findings of the study was that riders were significantly less likely to be admitted to hospital if they crashed wearing a motorcycle jacket, pants or gloves
Ms de Rome said “One of the most important findings was the difference it made to be wearing body armour, particularly for hands and knees.” When garments included fitted body armour there was a significantly reduced risk of any injury. This included a reduced risk of any injury to the upper body by 23%, legs by 39%, hands by 45% and feet by 45%. The results also found riders wearing shoes or joggers had a much higher risk of foot and ankle injuries, as any type of boot reduced risk of injury by 53%.
The results make it really clear … but do we think it is going to change behaviour. I hope so. But I have my concerns that scooter (and Vespa) riders will not see that this relates to them. Protective clothing is just as important for people on scooters .. but, particularly in the warmer months, it is not uncommon across Sydney to see alot of scooter riders with no protective clothing (barring the helmet that is required by law). I understand that scooter riders may not ride the distances or the speeds of other motorcylists but there are other dangers that face scooter riders that face that mean that the danger is no less than any other rider. I hope that this message gets across to all riders .. hmmm … maybe it is time to go and get those jeans and boots. 🙂